The Birr Elixir Keeps Readers Hooked
By Jo Sparkes
Oscar Press, $0.99, 164 pages
When Prince Tryst embarks on his journey, a coming-of-age quest, he expects the typical journey of his ancestors. Instead he awakes in a foreign land, 10 months from the day he left, thanks to the talents of a young herbalist named Marra. She is in the employ of Drail, a gamesman, whose team is traveling across the continent to attend the biggest sporting event of the year. When they arrive in Port Leet, the largest town on the continent, the team must face treachery, tricks and dirty play if they are going to win – and a little help from the magical birr elixir won’t hurt either.
Author Jo Sparkes proves to be an outstanding author with this light-hearted fantasy tale. She makes creating a believable, likeable world look easy. By slowly revealing information about the world the characters live in, Sparkes avoids the pitfall many fantasy authors fall into: information overload.
The most interesting part of The Birr Elixir is the sport the story centers around. The game of Comet pits four teams against each other, each trying to score points in a central basket. There are few rules, which keeps the game moving swiftly while still keeping it interesting. It is easy to picture the games as they happen, and soon readers will find themselves rooting for their team to win.
Although the story starts a bit unbelievably – a group of strangers taking an abused shop girl away from her home and job – the characters quickly become best friends. It is fun to see their friendship develop, and it feels like the reader is making friends right along with the characters.
Weighing in at just under 200 pages, The Birr Elixir is a quick read but one well worth experiencing. For a fun story with an imaginative world and an exciting sport, look no further than Jo Sparkes’ book The Birr Elixir.
Reviewed by Andrew Keyser